Friday, September 4th, 2015 | 3 PM Start
Location: Big Sky Resort Base Area
Welcome to the hardest 3 Mile “run” you will ever complete. Over 1 Kilometer of elevation gain in just 5 Kilometers of distance. Painfully simple. After you get to the top you have front row seats to the magnificence of southwest Montana. From there we will give you a lift back down via the Lone Peak tram. From there, VK’ers will walk a little under a mile to the top of the Swiftcurrent lift, which they can download back to the Big Sky Resort base area.
Runners will begin in the Big Sky Resort base area at an elevation of 7,534 ft. It is ALL uphill from there, gaining 3,632 ft., to the lofty summit of Lone Peak at 11,166 ft. in altitude.
(NOTE: The first half of the course is new in 2015. Due to operational concerns of Big Sky Resort, we will no longer head up the biking trail Soul Hole. Instead we have found a steeper and more direct route which we think will be better for all, including spectators on Swiftcurrent Lift.)
The first half of the course will head up the ski runs known as Huntley Hollow and Calamity Jane. The steep roads going straight up these runs will be the most direct route to the base of Bone Crusher and Alto ridge, and the top of Swiftcurrent lift.
The second half of the race along Bone Crusher ridge and Alto ridge to the summit is EXTREMELY STEEP & TECHNICAL with sections of exposure and potential rockfall hazard. We will have safety personnel along the ridge keeping an eye out for runners and assessing any objective hazards, but the responsibility falls on you the race participant to be aware of your surroundings and other runners. This is a true mountain course so please treat it with the respect it deserves!
To limit trail congestion and promote safety along the course, the VK will be started in 3 waves at 5 minute offsets. If you believe you will finish in the first third of the field we recommend you sign up for wave one. If you think you will be in the middle third, please sign up for wave two. If you believe you will be in the back third then wave three is the one for you!
There are no aid stations along this course.
It turns out the weather can change a bit in 1000 Meters of elevation change and we wouldn’t want you to get too cold in your singlet and short shorts at the summit finish line! Therefore, VK participants may leave drop bags at the race start/finish area which we will then shuttle to the summit for you to wear. At packet pickup we will provide you with a drop bag which you must use if you choose to have a drop bag at all. VK drop bags must be dropped off no later than 8:30 am on race morning.
In addition to festive volunteers and incredible vistas as far as the eye can see, we will have food and drink at the summit finish line for VK Rut runners.
This is not an orienteering race. The race organizers will do everything they can to have the course marked well for race participants the day of the event. Off-trail sections of the course will be marked in a way that race participants should be able to see from each course marking to the next to help guide them along the course.
We are well aware that one of these years we will need to use our back up courses due to inclimate weather in the alpine zones of Lone Peak. Our plan B course for the Vertical K is really just a Mini VK with only 450 meters of vertical gain. The route would begin in the Big Sky Base Area and head up a steep ski run to the top of Swiftcurrent Chair. Simple. Short. Painful. Consider yourselves warned.
Please be prepared for any type of weather. Though weather in Big Sky is relatively mild and stable in mid-September historically we are still in the mountains and conditions can quickly change. This is a challenging run on challenging terrain and the race organizers reserve the right to stop the race at any time should they deem the course unsafe due to weather.
VK fine print:
- Dogs not allowed in the VK.
- Strollers: Allowed only if you wear a GoPro
- Trekking poles: Allowed
- VK’ers may not hike/run down the VK course, but instead must take the Lone Peak Tram down due to the narrowness and exposure of the ridge trail to the summit.
- Headphones HIGHLY DISCOURAGED due to areas with rockfall hazards and potential wildlife hazards along the trail.
- Due to the mountainous and technical nature of this course, race organizers may choose to make course changes on race day due to severe weather with the race participants safety in mind.